Monday, October 31, 2016

October's Over!

October's over. Can you believe it? I can't! The days of this life seem to pass so quickly. I wish I could say that I've been focusing on my goals, but the truth is, I'm just living day by day. Some days, I survive. Some days, I do a bit better, but I can honestly say that I'm not to the thriving part yet. But oh well. Here's to having goals, even if I don't remember to embrace them.

2) Stop checking e-mail on my phone while at work.Some days at work are so busy that I don't remember to check my phone. Or I have students in my office and need to hide my phone. My phone e-mail hasn't been loading at work, either, so overall, I'd say that this issue is taking care of itself.

3) Use more glass storage containers and less plastic.Still enjoying peanut butter jars for overnight oats and the Anchor bowls for lunches.

4) Find my rambunctious side again.I dressed up as Uranium from the periodic table for work today. Does that count?

5) Memorize some new scripture, or at least review the old.
Scripture memory takes intentional planning. I had to decide to substitute scripture memory for listening to a Psalm every night. There just isn't time for everything.

6) Clean out the pantry (fridge, freezer, et. al) and go on a grocery spend fast until it is done.I live at home, so I don't buy groceries per se, but I still like to use what I have on hand. For example, this weekend, I plan to make this recipe with leftover white beans, kale, and tomatoes from Mom's garden.

) Purge excess. Soak up blessing.
I'm acquiring more stuff, when most of my stuff is already in storage. I need to unpack what I have in storage or sell it. Decisions...

9) Embrace the quiet.
Hard. I've found that thoughts can be noisy, too. I just want my brain and my environment to be silent so I can hear God speak.

11) Rest.Struggling. See above. And I keep waking up at 4 am. That needs to stop!

12) Trim down the processed. Bulk up the produce.
I need to work on this one. I've been eating convenience foods and I really feel better when I cook and eat more whole foods.

13) Bullet journal plan—streamline my to-do list.
It works!

14) Finish the books I have and read more.
Fall break gave me a little extra time, so I read four books this month. I made it through two non-fiction books, which were good breaks from the fantasy of fiction.

15) Spend time with and love the people around me.
Mom and I took a little trip to Phoenix for dinner and hang-out time. A former housemate and I met up for Starbuck's and a trip to IKEA. I've found a group of girls to lunch with at Panera each week after church. I am grateful.

16) Blog. Instagram. Something.
Still at Instagram. I think more people see that than this. But I like to write....

Friday, October 28, 2016

God Rejoices in His Creation.

This world is so messed up and broken: filled with crime, devastation, murders, natural disasters, etc. It's easy to get discouraged, to think there is nothing beautiful left. But then I read that God rejoices in His creation. He finds joy and gladness in it, which means we can, too.

God Rejoices in His creation.

Is glad for; takes delight in (, n. d.)

Psalm 104:31

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.

Proverbs 16:7

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

Zephaniah 3:17

"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

Haggai 1:8

"Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the Lord.

Zechariah 4:10

"Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?"


Rejoice. (n. d.). Unabridged. Retrieved from

Friday, October 21, 2016

God is Equitable.

"Life isn't fair." I've heard this saying all my life. But guess what? God is fair. He judges justly. He discerns right and wrong objectively. He's also gracious and merciful. We don't always get what we deserve. These attributes of God are somewhat contradictory, to be sure, but also part of God's infinite character that is beyond our understanding.

God is Equitable.

"Characterized by equity or fairness; just and right; fair; reasonable" (, n. d.)

Psalm 9:8
He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity.

Psalm 67:4
May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.

Psalm 75:2
You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity."

Psalm 96:10
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98:9

Let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 99:4
The King is mighty, he loves justice— you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.


Equitable. (n. d.). Unabridged. Retrieved from

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crisp Apple Spice Oatmeal

Fall has arrived, and with it colder morning and evening temperatures, which means more oats! The apple harvest has also started, bringing with it a fresh crop of apples, specifically my favorite variety: Gala. I made this apple oatmeal a few nights ago to capitalize on Fall's bounty.

Normally, I like to stew my apples, but this time, I cooked them with the oats. This left them with an edge of crispness that accentuated the fall spices of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Plus, I topped this porridge with two nut butter, allowing me to hand-craft each spoonful of Fall goodness.


1/2 c quick oats

1 c water
1 apple, chopped
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1 T almond butter
1 T peanut butter


1. Combine the oats, apple, water, and spices in a small sauce pan.

2. Cook until the liquid absorbs and the oats are creamy.
3. Top with 1 T each of almond and peanut butter.


Friday, October 14, 2016

No One Like God

These verses are similar to last week's prayer verses, but their truth bears repeating: There is No One Like God.
Exodus 8:10b

There is no one like the Lord our God.

Deuteronomy 33:26
There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.

2 Samuel 7:22
How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.

1 Chronicles 17:20
There is no one like you, Lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.

2 Chronicles 14:11
Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”

Jeremiah 10:7
Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Salted Cardamom Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Yep, I'm on a cardamom kick! It's SOOO good. This time, I added it to some traditional banana oats.

Mmm! Top it with some pink Himalayan sea salt to bring out the natural sweetness of the banana. Finish off with a dollop of natural peanut butter and dig into the creamy goodness!


1/2 c old-fashioned oatmeal
1 c water
1/4 t cardamom
1/2 t vanilla
1 banana (half mashed, and half sliced) 
Himalayan sea salt
2 T natural peanut butter


1. Bring water and oats to a boil and reduce heat to medium.
2. When oats reach the desired consistency, stir in the cardamom, vanilla, and mashed banana. Simmer oatmeal on low until the liquid absorbs and the porridge is rich and creamy
3. Transfer oatmeal to a bowl and top with the sea salt, sliced bananas, and peanut butter.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Refreshing Look at Church

Disclaimer: This is not a criticism of my current church. I enjoy it and thank God for it. Rather, this post is about perspective and a need for change in the way I view church.

Community park to the left, pool to the right, we parked in an empty asphalt slot at the recreation center that holds a local church plant. As we approached the single glass door, I viewed the church's pastor out in the open foyer, chatting with church parishioners At the door, a woman warmly greeted us, and handed us church bulletins, a single-fold affair holding a few announcements and a simple sermon outline. Behind the woman stood two white rectangle plastic tables, free of tablecloths, but spread with breakfast breads, paper plates, a bowl of strawberries, and a variety of church handouts. As we walked in and to the left, we found the church "sanctuary," an open room equipped with little more than an electric keyboard, a podium, a projector, and a projector screen. Christian praise songs hummed quietly in the background.

We sat down in the business style chairs, content to wait silently for church to start, as we normally do. Our solitude didn't last long. Person after person came up to introduce themselves and thank us for coming. Suddenly, we heard a few simple piano notes and the song leader asked parishioners to join in singing, "Amazing Grace." All stood. As the pianist played and sang, the congregation joined in. I could hear my mom singing harmony on my left and catch notes of my brother's low tenor to my right. The voices of the congregation rose above the instrument as we sang in praise to God. After this hymn and another song, someone prayed. The pastor came in and greeted the church. We sang, "The Old Rugged Cross."

An usher stood up and instructed us to greet one another. I shook the hands or two or three people and sat down. My family sat down, and suddenly, we noticed that we were the only ones seated. Around us, church members continued to exchange handshakes and hugs and good words. We realized that we'd sat too soon.

After asking not once or twice, but three times for people to sit down, the usher read the Bible passage for the day and the pastor stood up to preach. He spoke from The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and had but four simple points. He preached straight from the text and actually had us read the supporting texts, all of them. No rushing through, no embellishment; just God's Word.

At the conclusion of the service, the pastor offered prayer. Then he went back to the foyer to say goodbye to his church members, each and every one of them. Meanwhile, other men from the church started cleaning up the sanctuary: rolling up cords, packing up the piano, picking up church signs. No one asked them to do anything. There was no obvious supervision. The men just worked-excellently, as unto the Lord.

I can almost recite the liturgy of traditional church in my sleep: Enter quietly. Remain polite. Stand up when the pastor instructs. Sing. Sit down. Listen to announcements. Stand up. Greet. Don't be unfriendly, but don't be so friendly that you take up the pastor's sermon time. Sit down. Open your Bibles. Pay attention. Take notes.  Follow along, but we don't have time to read all of the supporting passages. These become the unwritten rules.

Church today was refreshingly different. It wasn't polished. It wasn't a show. It was the assembling of like-minded believers for the purposes of exhortation and fellowship (Heb 10:25). The quality of worship was not about the number of instruments or the voices of the singers, but about lifting high the name of Jesus. The church didn't tout the degrees or credentials of its pastor or children's church workers, but rather evidenced people who served God willingly and joyfully.

I want to be part of this kind of church, not this particular church plant per se, but this church that is the corporate body of believers, near and far, at home and abroad. I want to remember that church is not a list of do's and don'ts but an active process of engaging with and encouraging those around me. Attending church is not an obligation or a recitation or a routine, but a privilege and a blessing from God, a refreshing breath of fresh air from the tumult and toil that is this world.

Supporting passages (Format borrowed from my friend at Unto My Beloved):

Hebrews 10:25

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (NKJV).

Philippians 2:9
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (NIV).

Friday, October 7, 2016

None Like the Lord

In a world that idolizes so many things; in a world where we look to fame, food, love, money, pride, etc. to fill us, it is good to remember that there is None Like the Lord. Only He meets our needs. Only He hears and answers our prayers. Only He truly satisfies. He is worthy of our praise.

Psalm 40:5

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 86:8
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours.

Isaiah 45:6
From the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:21
Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

Isaiah 46:9
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Salted Pear and Cardamom Oatmeal

I'm really into cardamom now. This time, I paired it with fresh pears and peanut butter and Himalayan sea salt. Strange? Yes, but oh so good.


1/2 c old-fashioned oatmeal
1 c water
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 t cardamom
1 T (or more) natural almond butter
1/2 a Bartlett pear, diced
Himalayan sea salt
1 T (or more) natural peanut butter


1. Bring water and oats to a boil and reduce heat to medium.
2. When oats reach the desired consistency, stir in the applesauce and cardamom. Simmer oatmeal on low until some of the liquid from the applesauce absorbs and the oats become thick and rich.
3. Transfer oatmeal to a bowl, and top with the sea salt, peanut butter, and diced pear.

Monday, October 3, 2016

When God Doesn't Make Sense

My family and I are struggling with some unanswered prayer right now. I won't go into specifics to preserve the anonymity of the person involved, but it's hard. And we're in the middle of a sermon series at church on prayer, which makes it really hard. We're praying, and God isn't answering.

The sermon this week was on prayer and fasting. I'll admit that I haven't fasted over this particular issue, but I have prayed; like crazy I've prayed. And though I believe in the value of the spiritual discipline of fasting, I don't believe that God is a vending machine. Putting fasting in isn't going to yield the answer to our prayer.

Here's the thing: God is sovereign. God is omniscient. God is infinite. His plans are way above ours (Isa 55:9). He's going to answer when He's going to answer, like it or not. It's not that He doesn't care, but that He cares enough to give us His best, and it's apparently not time for that.

Lots of people lose faith or give up on faith because of unanswered prayer. I can't. God is my hope. God is the reason for my existence. I didn't start up a relationship with God to make my life easy. I started it because it was the only way to have life. So I'm clinging, hoping, praying. By God's grace, I will not give up.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Another Month, Another Blog

Here's a recap on The List. Only three more months of the year and then it's time to make a new list. I'd like to go smaller next time. The length of this list makes it hard to focus.

2) Stop checking e-mail on my phone while at work.
I check for mail when I get to work, at lunch, and before I leave. Having to "hide" my phone usage from students helps my self control. (Students aren't allowed to have their phones out at school.)

3) Use more glass storage containers and less plastic.
I bought this set of glass bowls for like $6 at TJ Maxx, and they're invaluable!  Now I want to buy more so that I can pack all five of my lunches at once. (I often use two plastic containers when I do this.)

4) Find my rambunctious side again.

5) Memorize some new scripture, or at least review the old.
I finished reviewing Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. I'm trying to memorize Galatians, but let's be honest: I'm not doing a very good job. I just don't make time to memorize any more.

6) Clean out the pantry (fridge, freezer, et. al) and go on a grocery spend fast
until it is done.
Since I'm living at home with my parents, Mom buys most of the groceries. I still try to make recipes that use up what's in the cupboards, though. Today, I made this Caribbean black eyed peas stew with leftover beans, potatoes we had in the produce bowl, and the cilantro in the fridge from last week's curry.

7) Purge excess. Soak up blessing.
I'm doing quite fine living a simpler life (sans the stuff in storage)...except I need my winter clothes. I don't know where I'll put them, but I need them.

8) Run a 5K.
I ran in The Patriot 5K September 10. My family watched for the first time, which was super fun!

9) Embrace the quiet.
I realized last month that I hadn't taken time for a silent retreat since I moved home. That's a two month hiatus...not good. So I went to church Saturday night and spent some time alone Sunday morning. I got to calm my mind and think a little. The only realization I had is that God is able, big enough to accomplish whatever He wants to do. I don't know what that means specifically, but it's a truth I need to remember. Therefore, I posted it to my mirror.

10) Pursue counseling licensure.
My LAC license finally arrived! Now I need to find a way to use it in two years before I lose it.

11) Rest.
I was going to bed earlier, but I've had late nights this week. I'm slow at snacking, lolly-gagging around. My mind is going a million miles an hour. I need to find ways to rest my mind so I can rest my body, too.

12) Trim down the processed. Bulk up the produce. (In my diet)
I'm eating vegetables, but I'm also eating lots of cold cereal-maybe because I didn't buy it as a single person? I don't know. I'm just trying to let my body have what it wants.

13) Bullet journal plan—streamline my to-do list.
Still at it! I even do this at work. I've shown students the basics in case they want to try. I'm definitely a fan!

14) Finish the books I have and read more.
I was reading a lot of fiction, but this week, I've read very little. I started Brene Brown's Rising Strong, which is awesome, but I need to finish it before it's due at the library next Saturday.

15) Spend time with and love the people around me. 
Working on it. Living with family reminds me how selfish I am sometimes. There's a balance between self-care and self-preservation and selflessness that I'm still trying to find.

16) Blog. Instagram. Something. (Experiment.) 
I took last month off Instagram to rest priorities, and I want to go back. The problem is that I feel so much pressure to make a good first post. I probably just need to post and get it over with.